Poem of the Week, by Miguel M. Morales

img_3440I wanted to write about why I love this poem so much, but it grabbed me by the throat and told me that it could speak for itself, thanks.

This Is a Migrant Poem, by Miguel M. Morales

This is a migrant poem 
a farmworking poem, a poem that covers itself 
in long sleeves to avoid the burning sun. 

That drinks enough water to avoid 
dehydration but not enough to get water sickness. 

This poem carries a machete, a hoe, a spade, 
a knife, shears, and a file for filo. 

This poem walks irrigated rows collecting mud 
on its boots that add five pounds to each foot. 

This poem guards the cornfield where his sister, 
his mother, and his cousins, squat to pee. 

This poem ducks down hitting the dirt to avoid the 
echoing crop duster spraying anti-poem toxins that 
burn our eyes and throats. 

This poem is egg and chorizo burritos in aluminum foil, 
steamed shut by the heat waiting for you at lunch 
in a foam cooler in the trunk at the end of rows of soybean. This poem. 
This poem smells of blood—and meat. 

This poem flows from carcasses into open drains 
of slaughter houses, on kill floors, in chilled freezers 
with knives cutting, cutting, cutting, cutting—always cutting. 

They duct tape knives into this poem’s hands 
to cut even when its cut hands can cut no longer. 

This poem is a gift of a strong back, of sturdy legs,
of silence, of patience. 

And a never-ending work ethic 
          a never ending work ethic 
                      a never ending work of ethics. 

This poem shows you the bigger picture. 
This poem is pragmatic, strategic, and erratic. 

This poem reaches as it climbs ladders, as it stoops over, 
as it pulls from branches, vines, as it unearths other poems 
and tosses them into buckets and sacks slung across its stanzas. 

This poem is paid by the word, by the piece, 
by the hour, by the day, by the acre. 

This poem has no benefits, no days off, 
no health insurance, no childcare. 

This poem is child labor. This poem is sexual assault. 
This poem is deportation. This poem is missing wages,
broken vehicles, sunstroke. 

This poem avoids irrigation ditches where 
La Llorona hopes to drown it. 

This poem knows she commands water and sends waves 
of humidity and tempting mirages of cool rippling lakes. 

This poem wears a rosary and a scapular and prays to St. Francis of Assisi 
to protect them from snakes and rats that live in the fields 
and to St. Michael the archangel to protect them from the farmer’s son 

who watches his sisters 
          who follows his sisters  
                     who pulls at his sisters. 

This poem wakes up early, works all damn day, sweats all damn day. 
This poem always needs a shower to wash off the dirt, to wash out the dirt, 
to wash away the dirt. 

This poem goes to bed early to do it all again 

This Poem is a Migrant Poem. 
A. Farm. Working. Poem.

For more information on Miguel M. Morales, please click here.

One comment

  1. Miguel M. Morales · November 10, 2017

    Thank you for loving my poem and featuring it on your blog.


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